This piece was submitted to the Citizen Journal project of the Peter-McGill Community Council. Please note that the opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of our organization. This project aims to create space for the voices of residents, students and friends of the neighbourhood through articles, photos, videos, and podcasts in any language. Are you interested in contributing? Contact us at email@example.com!
The Citizen’s Journal is yet another branch on the Table de Quartier Peter-McGill’s fruit-bearing tree, however this one hangs a little closer to the ground than others and is within an arm’s reach for anyone that notices it. A relatively new project, the Journal is one of the Table de Quartier’s emerging initiatives and provides an accessible platform for anyone to relay their message across. Whether it be a few hundred words admiring the district’s captivating public art, a thought-provoking critique of the lack of social housing in Downtown Montreal, or even just a passionate poem dedicated to the sprawling green space in front of Canadian Centre for Architecture; the Table’s Citizen’s Journal is the place for you to share your words, ideas, and personal insights into experiencing the Peter-McGill district.
On one hand, we could talk about how community journalism nourishes democracy through the active participation of those that experience it, and obviously know it best – or, if you prefer, we can speak of this project’s value in terms of it display of our community’s budding creativity. Regardless, if you feel as if you have something to share, it is of critical importance that we all hear it, see it, feel it, and share it amongst ourselves. Undoubtedly, there is tremendous benefit to creating community surrounding open communication, in which we trust more than we fear, and we encourage one another to appear, speak, and contribute together.
Without a doubt, there is a personal, but also a shared value to providing a microphone for self-expression, while equally investing in the right speakers for broadcasting these messages. With a background in journalism, I can attest to the delight and satisfaction in holding the microphone in your hands, for even just a few minutes – either literally, or figuratively. In creating a space for collective action and exchange, the Citizen’s Journal allows us to share with others what we hold dearest, likewise, gives the individual an opportunity to voice disapprovals if they so happen to come up.
As a member of the Table de Quartier’s Board of Directors, I can attest to the fact that we desire nothing more than to hear the opinions of those we represent. Working alongside the Table’s dedicated team, we are a board of 11 members, and a grouping of 7 committees – but we cannot undertake the task of representing the district ourselves – and that’s where the immeasurable value of citizen contribution comes into play.
At the end of the day, the Table de Quartier is in place to empower those that call Peter-McGill home, while providing a space for coordinated community action, and these essential functions require collective engagement, but most importantly, our work is sustained by the contribution of citizens. I might not be pointing the finger at anyone in particular, but this call to action applies to you, and for the love of democracy, and the sake of community; why not submit whatever’s been occupying your thoughts lately?
Louis-Thomas Kelly is a member of the Board of Directors of the Peter-McGill Community Council and frequent contributor to the Citizen’s Journal.